May 25, 2011
The main purpose of a charter school parent rally tomorrow is to demand that the NAACP withdraw from a lawsuit that threatens some charter schools. But not everyone being recruited to the rally is being told that the NAACP is its intended target.
The office of City Councilman Robert Jackson received a fax at 3:33 p.m. that asks elected officials to “support us and come speak at the rally tomorrow.” The fax, whose origin was not identified, says the rally is “to save our schools from the lawsuit” and is signed “Harlem Parents.”
Jackson, who chairs the council’s education committee, is one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed by the UFT and NAACP to stop 22 school closures and prevent 17 charter schools from opening, moving, or expanding.
In fact, more than 1,600 parents have signed on to a letter to the NAACP, according to Kerri Lyon, a spokeswoman for the New York City Charter School Center, which is supporting the rally. “They clearly know who is standing in their way,” Lyon said.
But when the NYC Charter School Center sent a flyer by email to a Brooklyn charter school on Monday, it did not bill the rally as being focused on the NAACP. A parent at the mom-and-pop school sent the flyer to GothamSchools.
“Fight for your ability to choose where your children can attend school,” the flyer exhorted, asking for RSVPs to a phone number at the center. The flyer said that the UFT and NAACP had filed a lawsuit to stop charter school co-locations but did not single out the NAACP’s involvement.
“My understanding was that the rally was simply to denounce the lawsuit,” the parent said.
The parent said she didn’t feel great about “the switcheroo” but said she still supported the rally. “It does make sense to call out the NAACP, though,” she said. “It seems to me they are playing politics and don’t understand [charter schools'] long-term benefits to their entire African-American community.”